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Dear Yuletide Writer,

Sorry again about being laggy about getting my letter up! First thing I want to say is if you were matched on a fandom I have less to say about don't think that means I want it any less than the others. In fact, there was one fandom I'd meant to request all year long only to have a brainfart and forget that while I was filling out the form, but when I went back to edit and switch out one of the requests I did make for it I found that I couldn't stand to remove any of them even for something that had been a set choice before.

I generally prefer lighter fic, fluff and comedy and happy things, but don't feel that you need to force your fic in that direction, especially if you matched on one of the fandoms that really don't work well for it (Drakengard ho!). I will ask that if you can please aim for an ending that is happy, or at least hopeful. An unrelenting angst parade down into unending misery without any light at all really is not my thing.

Pairings-wise, if a pairing I mentioned doesn't work for you I'd much rather you write gen than try to force it. You're even welcome to write them in relationships with other characters if you like, as long as its not one that I specifically ask you to please not write (even then optional details are optional, of course, all I can say is please don't). And if there are any other characters you want to work in that I didn't request feel free to do so!

Genre-wise, I'm not generally a fan of major AUs or crossovers. By "major" AUs I mean things like high school or modern day AUs, where the characters are transposed into a hugely different setting. I'm more open to AUs exploring how the story's world and the character's places in it would be different if some event in it's history were changed. I'd also really rather not get something that's pure porn, I don't read that much porny fic to begin with and would generally rather get plot or character introspection over sex. I like futurefic as long as it's not purely focused on the characters being domestic with kids (I don't mind them having kids, I just get bored by futurefic that focuses totally on the characters' at-home family life instead of anything neat they're doing outside the home).

I like both plotty and character-centric stories (or character-centric plot!). I like missing scenes fic. Not a big fan of canon scenes from a different viewpoint unless you can do it in a way that really twists how the original scene is viewed. I'll admit that I love catching little references to canon sprinkled into a story, nots to previous episodes or quests or whatnot.

Now on to the requests! (I can't promise that all of these will have much extra info beyond what was in my optional details. I want to try to give you more to work with if they weren't enough, but part of the reason I've been so laggy in my letter is that I can't really think of much else that I didn't already say for some of them.)

Bastion
Requested Characters: The Kid, Rucks, Zia, and Zulf
MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE GAME IF YOU HAVEN'T PLAYED IT AND WANT TO!

I love this game, and these characters, and this world. Anything with them is fine with me! I'm a bit OT4ish about them, or rather I don't ship Zulf and Rucks together but ship them both with Zia and The Kid with Rucks and Zulf generally at peace with sharing them as long as no one tries to make the two of them do more than tolerate each others company.

I'm fascinated by their lives in either ending, whether they're exploring the ruined world and looking for a new place to settle or reliving their lives with a constant feeling of deja vu. I like thinking that they, or at Zia and The Kid, have the sense that there are people out there that they're SUPPOSED to be with, a place that they belong, but they never know where until they find each other. Or, if you want to spin things off in a different direction, I always theorized that the reason Ruck's solution didn't work was because they lost the Sundown Path core so the Bastion never reached full power, so how will things go if The Kid's deja vu gets strong enough for him to realize he needs to book it to the core before the Gasbag gets it and they successfully restore the world with their memories intact?


Bastion is a game about trying to set the end of the world right, though whether that means returning things to the way they once were and trying to keep it from going wrong again or learning to accept life and find happiness is the now broken world is up to you. It's a rare story where I'm massively in love with both the characters and the world it's set on equally. You don't need to involve all four characters if you don't want to, take any combination of them that you want and run with it! Gen fic is fine, don't think that because I started with shipping stuff you need to put it in. For that matter, shipping in other combinations than what I mentioned it fine too.

I personally don't foresee Rucks and Zulf ever really fully mending the gulf between them beyond tolerating each other's company for the sake of the others, though feel free to write something trying to convince me otherwise, I actually would be interested in seeing that.

Bastion is up for sale on Steam and various other game download sites. It is probably the shortest of the games I requested if you're thinking of checking out a canon beyond whatever you matched me on, though since it is a game it's still a pretty big time investment.




Drakengard
Characters: Any

MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST ENDING OF THE GAME IF YOU HAVEN'T PLAYED IT AND WANT TO!

I'd love to see something worldbuildingish expanding on one (or more!) of the weapon stories in the games. So many of them (well, apart from the ones that are just variations of 'This weapon has killed a bunch of people') give us the tiniest glimpses of stories that seem like there's so much more there to hear about; that one with the little girl who teamed up with a dragon to get revenge on the people who killed her family could be a game all on its own!

Alternately, if you offered Caim or Angelus and aren't interested in the weapons, I'd be very interested in something set between the two games fleshing out what happened there. Was there an actual good reason that the seal needed to be strengthened that Caim wouldn't listen to in his fury, or did Verdelet just think Angelus could bear more than the previous goddesses did and Caim's wrath was justifiable because she didn't need to suffer that much?


Oh man, Drakengard, the game series where almost everyone is awful and the gods are evil babies.

Even though this is a game series, it is actually the quickest canon to acquaint yourself with if you don't already know it if you want to fill me first request! See, in this game every weapon you get has a little flavor-text story based on it that don't, for the most part, have any connection with the main game at all. Not the characters, not the part of the world its set in, nothing (the exceptions to this are Caim's Sword, Nowe’s Sword and Longsword, Oror’s Falconblade and Lionblade, Eris’s Spear, Manah's Staff, Ulrick's Axe, Inuart’s Long Sword, Guard’s Sword, Tower of Warning, and the Hero's Knife). The main thing you need to know about the canon if you read through a list of the weapon stories and find one you like is that if it mentions a human and a mystical creature making a pact the way a pact works in this universe is that the human character pays some form of price in exchange for the added power which is shown by a tattoo appearing on their body in a spot connected to what they lost (the main character, Caim, lost his voice and the tattoo showed up on his tongue, another character only lost his hair and it showed up all over his scalp), the person and creature gain a telepathic connection to each other, and if one of them dies the other will too. You can find the stories here for Drakengard (you'll need to CTRL+F for Weapons File) and here for Drakengard 2, but I'll put up a few of the ones I think have the most story hidden in them in another post.

On the other, more game-focused side! Like I said, I am really curious for more details on what happened two years before Drakengard 2. How could anyone think strengthening the seal would be worth raising the wrath of an immensely powered psychopath like Caim. Did they think Caim's loyalty to his nation was stronger than his bond with Angelus? Did they expect that feeling Angelus' suffering through his bound with her would cripple Caim enough to save them? There's an idea; could strengthening the seal actually have been meant to cripple him rather than actually being an issue with the seal itself? Hoping that through Angelus they could leave him in enough pain that he wouldn't be able to effectively fight if he ever turned on them? Sadly, that might actually be the closest thing they could have to a good reason, if there wasn't actually some real pressing need to strengthen it.

The games themselves can be hard to get ahold of, but there are a couple of very good screenshot Let's Plays by The Dark Id. Drankengard and Drakengard 2.




The Fairyland Series - Catherynne M. Valente
Characters: September, Halloween, and Shadow Maud

MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE SERIES IF YOU HAVEN'T READ IT AND WANT TO!

Okay, I'll admit that I'm basically hoping for someone to write the ending to the second book that I thought was coming. With the references to Shadow Maud being so much like September that she could stand as her shadow too, and September's increasingly starting to recognize that Halloween deserved life as her own person too I really thought the book was going to end with Maud choosing to become September's shadow while Halloween gets to live on beneath Fairyland (after learning a very important lesson about not stealing people's shadows and magic, of course). But if that doesn't work for you, further adventures of any of the girls would be fun. How strange must it be to wander around aware that your shadow is her own person who might not agree with things your doing? How often does Halloween get persnickety because she wants a chance to stretch her legs? How does Maud adjust to knowing that her son still exists (and does she feel guilty that her human self still has no idea)?

I'm not a fan of September/Saturday, so I would prefer no nods to it please. (I am mildly intrigued by the idea of Halloween/Saturday though, as a twist on the mother of his daughter through features they have in common.)


This is one of the ones I really can't think of much else to add to! Except to say that I did realize after it was too late to change my sign-up that I'd misremembered the end a bit; I remembered her getting back a not-Maud shadow and that I thought it happened in a much too abrupt way for my tastes and for some reason my memory filled that in as Halloween becoming her shadow again. But, hey, just read the Halloween's persnicketyness bit as how often does she bristle at following the rules now when she's gotten used to running wild.

If you've never read the Fairyland books, they're about a little girl named September who, in the first, is swept away to Fairyland by the Green Wind, and ends up going against a wicked Marquess who is known to have killed the rightful queen of the land and started smothering the fairy creatures in bureaucracy in an attempt to force Fairyland into being a place that is nice and tame for human visitors at the expense of all the creatures who actually live there. During the course of her first adventure September gives up her shadow to save a little girl's life, and in the second book that decision comes back to bite her.

Anyway, I was so sure that the story was building to Maud becoming September's shadow that the ending actually totally caught me off-guard! And I didn't dislike it really, but it just felt so abrupt to me compared to the ending I felt it had been building up to. Though in the canon ending I am a bit curious if the machine-spun shadows would really remain as lifeless as September assumes; it seems as though just about anything connected to Fairyland is capable of gaining a life of its own given the opportunity, and couldn't leading a mimicky shadow life eventually lead to it gaining its own will as much as any other shadow does? Would September be more aware of it happening this time if it did?

Oh, and don't think my mention of Halloween/Saturday means I'm asking you to write that pairing, mentioning my dislike of September/Saturday just made it pop up in my head as something to throw in.

You can find the books uploaded here by astrofisica who kindly allowed me to link them.




Nier
Characters: Gretel, the Lost Temple Shades, and/or Mother Goose

MAJOR SPOILERS FOR NEW GAME + MODE OF THE GAME IF YOU HAVEN'T PLAYED IT YET AND WANT TO!

Obviously, I really want some boss fic, with the things we learn about them once we understand what they're saying! We got to see so little of Gretel's developing relationship with the relapsed shades in the temple, just quick scenes of her looking down on them, than barely starting to accept them, and then they are her dearest friends forever who she relies on! There must be an awful lot of missing story there. Honestly, I would love some fix-it fic where Nier doesn't beat them all, even though I do like him and the party. They don't even need to defeat Nier and the party, maybe Gretel recognizes him as he's coming and herds everyone out of there rather then face him again.

Alternately, what on earth is going through Mother Goose's mind, fighting with the babies still attached to her? Does she just feel that if they don't stop Nier and the party there that there's no hope for them anyway so there's no time to carry them somewhere safe? Or does she trust her own strength to keep them safe within her?

Or, if you just want to do something cute with all three characters I requested, maybe Mother Goose could bring the babies through the gate to the temple every so often as a reminder to Gretel and the others of what they're protecting by staying there.

(I'm using female pronouns for Gretel and Mother Goose because of their names, but you don't need to stick with that if you don't want to.)


Nier is a game set far into the future, after the vast majority of mankind was wiped out my a mysterious plague that transformed the cells of most people who got it into salt, and turned those who survived it into monsters who went on to attack the people still around. By the time of the game society as we know it was completely collapsed into the type of distopia where there're remnant of the modern world sticking around but nobody knows how they were made or how any leftover bits of technology work. The plague and the monsters it spawned are long gone, but new monsters have sprung up lurking around cities.

And when you replay the game you develop the ability to understand their language and get their side of the story. And in some cases their side of the story makes you feel like a giant gaping asshole just for playing the game.

I've tried to stay vague through the description here but the spoilers are about to get more obvious. If you haven't played the game before and might--or even if you might just be interested in reading the lets play!--I'd recommend not reading forward if spoilers bother you (and I'm somebody who isn't bothered by them, but I still think this game is better if you don't know what's up with the shades going in.)

This is another one where I don't really have much to add. I'd be interested in stories about them at any point really, not just the ones I mentioned. Even going far enough back to get into who are they would interest me (and this is one case where I would be fine with a crossover, though the nature of the game means it would have to be with something set in real-world Japan, though if you go that route please ask me in an anon comment or through the mods if you do so to make sure I know the canon since I haven't kept up with much recent anime). Does Nier ever meet their replicants? If he does did it give them (them can mean the shade or the replicant, whichever you want) some weird deja vuey feeling when they see him? (I just suddenly got this silly mental image of Mother Goose's replicant spotting Nier and, with no idea why she feel that way, becoming obsessed with keeping any nearby kids away from him.)

Setting a Gretel and friends story from the point of view of the small shades could be nice! Gretel is such a jerk to them at first, why do they keep trying to help her? Since they can't communicate intelligibly we don't really get to know their view of this friendship. I also wonder if they could be a sign that there's still some hope for humanity after the Shadowlord's fall; while these shades don't seem to have their human minds left (it's the whole reason Gretel was such an ass to them, after all, and see their inability to communicate) they're still able to exist peacefully and are still capable of things like empathy and friendship. They're more than just violently feral animals the way a lot of the game convinces us shades who have lost their humanity are doomed to be.

Nier is fairly easy to find for both the PS3 and the Xbox, or you can read a Let's Play here!




The Simpsons
Characters: Lisa Simpson and Nelson Muntz

Hey, there aren't major spoilers for once! :-)

This is a pretty hugely nostalgia-riffic request for me. Lisa's Date With Density aired when I was at JUST the right age for it to hit me in my preteeny feels and leave me with a soft-spot for them that never went away. I always love when nods to it come up again. So I'd really enjoy something set in the future with them trying it again (which doesn't need to work out any better than the first time if you don't want it too, though I'd rather they break up amicably). Maybe even trying it again more than once over the years, slowly growing into a pair of people who's personalities mesh well together without her wanting to change him, or him finding her too goody-goody.

If you don't want to write pairing fic for the two of them I'd be perfectly fine with friendship, but please don't have her end up with Milhouse.


First off I feel like I should say that when I say slowly growing to fit better together I don't mean I want Lisa to grow up to be a rebel or Nelson into a charming young gentleman, I still want them to be older versions of themselves.

This request especially I'd love a humorous fic for if you're up for it. I can't imagine something set in Springfield without laughs, even the worst episodes of the show get at least a couple chuckles out of me. And in this request especially feel free to throw in any other characters you feel like playing around with, the Simpsons is such an ensemble universe that as long as the two I asked for get a decent hunk of the story I'd be perfectly happy and feel it was perfectly fitting if other characters grab up a decent-sized hunk of it themselves.

Sadly, the easiest site to find the series on has just been taken down, but it's still easy enough to hunt down episodes. The most relevant for the pairing are Lisa's Date With Density and Loan-a-Lisa but there are cute moments scattered throughout the seasons, such as in The Great Simpsina when Nelson threatens God over Lisa's safety. (Sneaky other reason for linking that one: if you write futurefic for this one ever since that episode I've actually always really liked the idea of Lisa growing up to be a magician. She so clearly both loves doing it and has a natural talent for it and it charms the heck out of me.)




Psychonauts
Characters: Razputin Aquato, Sasha Nein

I'd love some mission fic. You don't even need to go deeply into what the mission itself is, I'd just be really interested in seeing how the brain-diving we do in-game translates to using it against villains who're actively against them instead of people who are generally okay with them. Future summers at camp would be fun too! I always see Raz as continuing to go even when he's way too old for it, because he's still too young to be a real Psychonaut and they're the only ones who treat him like he is anyway. Maybe he starts acting as a counselor himself?

I will freely admit that I ship these two once Raz is several years older; honestly, if they mentioned his age earlier it probably would have kept me from starting but I spent most of my first playthrough thinking from his personality that Raz (and several of the more mature campers) was teenaged and was just so short as a stylistic thing the separate the campers from the counselors more clearly and by the time 'I'm 10' came up I was pretty firmly into them. But if the idea squicks you out don't feel at all like you need to work it in to make me happy.


Psychonauts is my favorite game. I've played it a bajillion times and can still find details in it that I'd always missed before (the last time I played I found an update to the camp bulletin board's that I'd totally missed every other playthrough, even though I always check them throughout the game!) and that's not something many games, or works of fiction in general, can say.

While I say mission fic, just going into more details of what it's like being a Psychonaut would be great, we see so little of what it entails when it comes to the actual work they do. Or, how do the Psychonauts existing make their world different than ours. This is a world where not only does everyone know that psychic's exist, they have their own branch of the military and top agents have the fame of superstars (or at the very least big-name comic book heroes, since Razputin's view of just how famous they are might be a bit skewed by his fanboyism). What type of effect does that have on the crime of the world? Do regular unpowered people even bother to become major criminals/terrorists/whatever other form of villainy in their world, or does knowing that there are people out there who could explode their brains or rewrite their personalities if they become notorious enough to get noticed cause them to lie low and leave major crime to psychics on the other side of the law?

If you take this one I should say that I really really disagree with the side of fandom that views Sasha as super humorless and emotionless. He's super deadpan, sure, but he tells subtle jokes, and shows concern for the campers (I love the bit when Raz agrees to learn how to fight where it turns out that's just an offer he makes kids to scare them off if his experiments look like they're too much for them, and he doesn't even have the authority to do it when one actually says yes), passion for his work, embarrassment over the mega-censor issue, seems amused by Oleander's grandstanding in the opening scene... a lot of people seem to forget the fact that part of the lesson he taught Raz is that while a psychic needs to have control of their emotions they shouldn't suppress them and turn him into a wanna be Spock.

Really really don't feel like you need to pair them up to make me happy if the thought makes you uncomfortable. Like I said, if I'd realized how young Raz was from the beginning I probably would never have become interested in the pairing, and I'm someone who often ships pairings with a large age-gap. But if you don't have them together I'd rather you not have Sasha and Milla as a couple; pairing Raz with Lili would be fine by me, and so would having Milla involved in the story but I've just never bought Milla's crush as being reciprocated.

Any other characters you want to work in are welcome! I love the cast of this game.

October 2016

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